Shell V-Power technology -- Powering Scuderia Ferrari through refuelling changes
Fuel is a tightly controlled and highly regulated component of life in the Formula One paddock. Although regularly considered in its role in pit stop strategy, this year Shell faces perhaps the
biggest challenge in its Formula One fuel formulation in 15 years. The Federation Internationale de l' Automobile's (FIA) change in fuel regulations for the 2010 season has been two-fold. Refuelling during the race will no longer be allowed, so Shell V-Power race fuel will power Ferrari around the entire length of all 19 Grand Prix races with no refuelling during pit-stops. In addition, the FIA has widened the specifications for fuel formulation development, giving Shell two exciting opportunities for the season ahead.
With the rule changes come challenges to balance the need for constant high performance from Shell V-Power race fuel with tackling increased fuel temperatures and the vital need for each driver to conserve enough fuel to simply finish the race. Shell has worked alongside Scuderia Ferrari to develop the best possible Shell V-Power formulation in preparation for the new regulations and will continue development throughout the season to maintain optimum performance.
Mike Evans, Shell Formula One Fuels Development Project Leader explains, "For 2010, we've got the new fuel regulations; the formulation space for the fuel has been enlarged and we've got the change in refuelling rules. We really need to get the performance out of the car to make sure Scuderia Ferrari make the end of the race, and to make sure there's no problem with the fuel temperature since we can no longer have the benefit of adding slightly cooler fuel during a pit-stop. We've got some exciting challenges ahead for the sport, and we've been working hard for that."
Evans continues, "Engines, performance-wise, are tuned to run a rich, heavy type of fuel but you can then run them on a slightly leaner formulation, which will give you a small drop in performance but it will also give you better fuel efficiency. It's getting that balance right. We can alter the mix of components in the fuel to enable the engines to run leaner but still give optimum performance, and that's an area we've been working hard on for the last nine months leading up to the 2010 season, given the latest FIA rule changes."
The Shell technical partnership with Scuderia Ferrari began over 60 years ago, and the two brands work shoulder-to-shoulder all year round to develop innovative fuel developments. Generating more power from the fuel is a key focus for the 50-strong Shell team working on the technical partnership with Scuderia Ferrari in 2010. The latest racing fuel developed by Shell contains Friction Modification Technology, a feature that is present in Shell V-Power fuel for the road. Targeting mainly the piston rings, the technology is designed to help the engine turn more freely, unlocking valuable energy and maximising the horsepower produced by the engine. Formulated with powerful cleansing agents, Shell V-Power also helps to prevent power-robbing deposits forming on inlet valves and injection systems, improving responsiveness.
Shell V-Power race fuel has been formulated to give Scuderia Ferrari engine protection and reliability, ever more essential in 2010, where each driver has only eight engines to last the entire 19-race season. In this area, Shell Helix Ultra motor oil works together with Shell V-Power race fuel to help provide comprehensive protection and performance. Evans says, "Shell is very proud of the fact that we contribute to Scuderia Ferrari's fantastic engine reliability record. By combining Shell V-Power race fuel with a suite of Shell products, we create a complete package of engine care."
Formula One fuel is one of the most tightly-controlled fuels within the world of motorsport with the chemical and physical parameters dictated by the FIA. These regulations imposed by the FIA are designed to foster the development of road car fuels - specific power-boosting components are banned and the fuel formulation is highly monitored. "Due to the fuel regulations changes this year our role this year is to make sure that we keep within the parameters set by the FIA, whilst continually working alongside Scuderia Ferrari to deliver the best Formula One fuel for the team. We then transfer the learnings we take from the racetrack to the road," explains Shell Technology Manager for Ferrari, Dr Lisa Lilley.
An integral part of the team, Shell analyses fuel and oil samples from the Ferrari Formula One race car in a dedicated mobile trackside laboratory at each Grand Prix, while providing support in Maranello and at Shell facilities globally. Ultimately, Shell's commitment to innovation through motorsport is an integral part of an extensive research and development programme that is key to making better fuels for Shell customers around the world.